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SURVEY SAYS AD WARNINGS NOT NEWS TO PUBLIC; VAST MAJORITY SAYS WARNINGS WON'T PREVENT ALCOHOL ABUSE

 SURVEY SAYS AD WARNINGS NOT NEWS TO PUBLIC;
 VAST MAJORITY SAYS WARNINGS WON'T PREVENT ALCOHOL ABUSE
 NEW YORK, March 23 /PRNewswire/ -- The public has virtually universal awareness of the statements in proposed warnings in alcohol beverage advertising, according to a new national Roper Organization opinion survey of adults and young people.
 Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc. (NYSE: BUD) commissioned the poll to test public knowledge of the proposed warnings and public opinion as to their effectiveness.
 Of five warnings proposed in legislation pending before the U.S. Senate, 99 percent of Americans of all age groups said they already knew of the risks described in two of the warnings. The statements in two other warnings were known to 98 percent of the public, while the fifth warning was common knowledge to 97 percent, according to the poll. These levels of knowledge were very similar among adults and youths aged 14-20.
 "The poll shows extremely high awareness of the information in the proposed warnings, among adults and young people alike," said Harry O'Neill, vice chairman of the Roper Organization. "Such high levels of awareness are very rarely found."
 The survey also found that seven in 10 of the total sample (73 percent) and of 14-20-year-olds (69 percent) believe that the warnings would not be effective in preventing alcohol abuse. In addition, of those Americans who drink, some 95 percent said that advertising did not influence their own decision to start drinking and does not affect how often or how much they drink.
 "We are against alcohol abuse and illegal underage drinking -- period," said Stephen K. Lambright, vice president and group executive of Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc.
 "However, we are concerned about the application of measures supposed to combat abuse that are of no benefit. As this Roper survey shows, the proposed warnings would not tell people anything they don't already know -- and the vast majority believe that ad warnings would not prevent abuse," Lambright added. "The ad warnings approach should be rejected in favor of education, awareness and law enforcement, which are already reducing abuse."
 In its survey, Roper interviewed 1,202 people 14 years of age and older by telephone in late November 1991. Interviews were also conducted among 602 respondents aged 14-20, using the same questionnaire to allow for a larger sampling among this subgroup. (A total of 738 interviews were conducted among the 14-20-year age group.) The poll has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3 percentage points among the adult sample, and 4 percentage points in the 14-20-year-old sample.
 Following are the five statements included in the proposed ad warnings and the percent of all Americans, the percent of those 14-20 years of age, and the percent of those 21 and older who said they already knew of these risks associated with the abuse of alcohol:
 -- "Alcohol impairs your ability to drive or operate machinery" -- known by 99 percent of all three groups.
 -- "Drinking during pregnancy may cause birth defects. Women should avoid alcohol during pregnancy" -- known by 98 percent of all those polled, by 99 percent of 14-20 year olds, and by 98 percent of those 21 and older.
 -- "Alcohol may be hazardous if you are using certain kinds of over-the-counter prescriptions, or illegal drugs" -- known by 97 percent of all persons sampled, 94 percent of those 14-20 years of age, and 98 percent of all adults.
 -- "Drinking alcohol may become addictive" -- known by 98 percent of those polled in each group.
 -- "It is against the law to purchase alcohol for persons under age 21" -- known by 99 percent of all those sampled, 98 percent of the adults and 100 percent of those under 21.
 Roper also asked members of the public about the effectiveness of the proposed warnings in alcohol advertising. Again, the results were consistent across age categories, with seven in 10 finding them ineffective in reducing abuse. Breaking the categories down, 73 percent of the total sample, 69 percent of 14-20-year-olds and 73 percent of those 21 and older said the warnings would not reduce abuse.
 One of the key reasons that people don't believe warning labels will work to reduce alcohol abuse may be that more than three-fourths (77 percent of all those sampled and 79 percent of those aged 14 to 20) feel that if someone is already aware of the possible dangers of using a product, then those people "aren't likely to pay attention" to warnings.
 Also released were statistics regarding the effect of advertising on Americans' alcohol consumption practices. Only 4 percent of all those who drink said that advertising influenced their original decision to start drinking, while just 3 percent said that advertising influences how often they drink or how much they drink.
 The consumer subcommittee of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee will hold a hearing on April 2 on S. 664, a bill requiring five rotating warnings with the language covered in the Roper survey to be placed in all alcohol advertising.
 The survey was conducted under the guidelines of the National Council on Public Polls and the Council of American Survey Research Organizations.
 -0- 3/23/92
 /CONTACT: Phillip W. Sawyer, 914-698-0786 of the Roper Organization, or Marianna Deal, 314-982-9112, for Anheuser-Busch/
 (BUD) CO: Anheuser-Busch Companies Inc. ST: Missouri IN: FOD SU: ECO


AH -- NY033 -- 0494 03/23/92 10:45 EST
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Date:Mar 23, 1992
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